Maybe a decade ago, my roommate informed me that Cinder Bridge should quit playing "Layla." His reason? I sounded nothing like Eric Clapton.
It's true. I don't. Not even a little bit. And ...?
"You know the song 'Feelin' Alright?" I asked. "Traffic?"
"Okay. Then listen to this."
I put With a Little Help from My Friends in the CD player. Pressed play. Turned it up.
My roommate had heard it before, of course. And while I don't think I ever convinced him I was worthy of "Layla," he couldn't deny that Joe Cocker's version of "Feelin' Alright," totally different from Traffic's, kicked even more ass than the original.
Joe Cocker was far from the only artist who could put his own spin on somebody else's song. But he was one of the only artists I knew who could be consistently better. One of the only artists whose albums I'd buy even though he didn't write his own material.
I will miss him.
In the interest of not ending on a total down note, and because I can, I leave you with this.